Behind The ScenesJournalism

Updated list of ESPN’s commitment to journalism

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the calendar turns to a new year, Front Row wanted to update an important post we orginally shared in April of 2012. UPDATED: September 9, 2014

Since that posting, ESPN’s commitment to journalism has continued to display itself across all platforms. Below is an updated list including some of the more recent examples added to what was originally published in April, 2012.


Outside The Lines:
• In the owner’s suite, on his private jet or among Dallas’ beautiful people, JERRY JONES seems a happy man. But what he really wants, he cannot have. – Don Van Natta Jr.

• How Roger Goodell made the NFL bigger, richer, more powerful — and now more divided — than ever before. – Don Van Natta Jr.

• Major League Baseball seeking to suspend Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun and other players connected to Tony Bosch and his Miami-area clinic. MLB seeks to suspend A-Rod, BraunT.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish

• Several research groups competed to study Junior Seau’s brain after he died. Did the NFL help pick the winner? – Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada

• First public airings of now-former Rutgers coach Mike Rice’s practice tapes. – Don Van Natta Jr. and John Barr

• NCAA President mark Emmert faces scrutiny over handling of Miami case – Tom Farrey

• A in-depth look at how Roger Goodell made the NFL bigger, richer, more powerful — and now more divided — than ever before. — Don Van Natta Jr.

• Behind the scenes of Auburn’s 2010 championship season which uncovered its hidden problem with synthetic marijuana, and the downfall of 4 players charged with armed robbery. – Shaun Assael

• As part of the ongoing collaboration with PBS’s Frontline, OTL looks at the Boston University study on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and how the research is being viewed by the medical community. — Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada

• Doctors discover Junior Seau’s brain had CTESteve Fainaru, Mark Fainaru-Wada and ABC’s Jim Avila

• Youth coaches face gambling charges (a follow-up to earlier reporting on gambling on youth sports in Florida) — Paula Lavigne

NFL Fan ViolenceJohn Barr

• Bounties in Pop WarnerTom Farrey

“Football at a Crossroads” series

• The Dallas Cowboys’ dip into the apparel business comes with allegations of sweatshop labor.Mark Fainaru-Wada and Justine Gubar

• Mike Webster’s brain injury history.Mark Fainaru-Wada

• Fight on State: In wake of scandal, power struggle spread from Penn State campus to state capital. — Don Van Natta

• UFC Fighter Pay: An investigation into fighter pay in the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship — John Barr

• Bobby Dodd: An investigation of the CEO and president of AAU Basketball, accused of molesting two former players from his youth basketball team in Memphis — Tom Farrey

• Cleve Bryant was fired for harassment after a university investigation determined he made repeated unwanted sexual advances toward a female administrative assistant over a two-year period. – Steve Delsohn

• Bernie Fine: ESPN broke the story that two former Syracuse ball boys were accusing assistant coach Bernie Fine of molesting them. — Mark Schwarz

• The money that moves college sports, in 2010, looked at several hot-button issues facing the NCAA. The topics included Rutgers and the athletic arms race; the role of TV money in college sports; controversy over the use of an athlete’s likeness; renewable scholarships; endowed scholarships and more. — Paula Lavigne
• Concussions decrease in 2013 (full series of Concussion-realted stories included, scroll down.)

• Biogenesis coverage (sample of dozens): Sources: MLB wants files unsealed; No physical evidence tied to A-Rod; Sources: Bosch injected A-Rod. – Mike Fish, T.J. Quinn, Don Van Natta Jr., Pedro Gomez, Willie Weinbaum

• Liz Merrill on the story of South Carolina teammates, Kenny McKinley and O.J. Murdock, in “Where did it all go wrong?”

• Mike Fish on marching band hazing.

• Paula Lavigne on California keeping violent fans from stadiums.

• Liz Merrill on Jeremy Lin’s impact.

• Mike Fish on Murder for Hire: Mike Danton.

• Bloodline: Bruno de Souza murder for hire case.

• A multi-part series on NCAA academic reform.

ESPN The Magazine:

• Mark Winegardner: In “Last Time They Met,” Winegardner sheds new light on a Bourbon Street incident from the 2012 BCS Title Game that left two fans — one supporting LSU, one supporting Alabama — with more questions than answers.

Wright Thompson: A look at the strange relationship between a superstar, Lionel Messi, and his hometown in Argentina and Urban Meyer will be home for dinner.

• Kevin VanValkenburg: In “Power Mad,” Kevin VanValkenburg explains that two rival teams still wonder if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has too much authority

• Kevin Guilfoile on the enduring mystery of Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit bat.

• Don Van Natta Jr.: Fight on State and On death’s door.

• Sam Alipour: Marijuana and Eugene, Ore. are tied together like laces in a football.

Mark Schlabach: A cloud of pot busts lingers over college football — and the smoke isn’t clearing

Brett Forrest: All the world is staged about soccer match fixing.

Scott Eden: David Salinas’ financial scams finally caught up with him.

• Allison Glock: At the corner of love and basketball.

• J.R. Moehringer: Football is dead. Long live football.

Lindsay Berra : In-depth investigation in the Tommy John surgery epidemic among not just major leaguers, but pitchers from high school and up.

• David Fleming: Neither saint nor sinner – Could Scott Fujita be an advocate for player safety post-Bountygate?

• Sam Alipour: Will you still medal in the morning?

• Shaun Assael: Examining the expenses of the BCS bowls.


• Jeremy Schaap: E:60 traveled to Jerusalem to report on those who have been called “the most dangerous fans” in Israel soccer.

• George Takei narrates: The story of a soccer ball washed up on a tiny island 70 miles off the coast of Alaska. Written on the ball was a message in Japanese.

• Steve Wulf: Ben Petrick once hid his Parkinson’s, but the truth finally set him free.

• Lisa Salters: The Fighter: Christy Martin

• Jeremy Schaap: The Athletes of Bahrain

Ben Houser: The Wrestler: The Scott Hall Story


• Alex French and Howie Kahn: The Sound and the Fury: The fall and rise of the first all-sports talk station, WFAN

• Jay Caspian Kang: Person of Interest, Jeremy Lin

• Charles P. Pierce: Tebow’s Religion: Fair Game and The Brutal Truth About Penn State

• Jonathan Abrams: The Malice at the Palace and The greatest team that never was.

• Michael Weinreb: The Dumb History and Misplaced Nostalgia

More examples of ESPN’s aggressive approach

ESPN sued Ohio State for release of public records ESPN requested in reporting on Buckeyes football program. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in Ohio State’s favor.

ESPN sued the University of Texas for release of documents related to conference realignment. A state district judge ruled in favor of Texas.

Forward/Rewind logo by Samantha Baron

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